Social Media Policies, Responsible User Agreements….Aren’t Built Overnight

It is not easy to come to a consensus on what a school’s social media policy and a responsible user agreement should look like.  But we were able to do that at TIS, with a little blood and sweat(chokes, punches, etc.).

All finger pointing aside, I am impressed with the documents we created and they should give the administration at TIS something solid to work from as they look to solidify the IT policies and how IT equipment is used in the future.

With regards to the social media policy, we felt it was important to set the tone with a well-defined purpose for the social media policy right from the beginning.  We did this to bring clarity to those who may have questions as to why and what will this social media policy stand for.  We then felt it was important to set up a few general guidelines before delving into more specific guidelines for students, teachers and parents.  We then concluded our policy in the appendices by tying it to the NETS, as we felt this would give the document a respected framework where individuals could again see the validity through the lens of something standardized.  That was the thinking for the National Technology Standards for Teachers as well.

In the policy I personally felt it was important to address the issue of microblogs.  I feel we have brought some clarity for how it can and should be used in our K-8 school setting.  I also thought it was important to have student, teacher and parent guidelines in place as this conveys two things: it lets the different stakeholders involved know that they have an important role in how they should be interacting/overseeing the interactions.  It also sends the message to the different stakeholders that it is not just on one group, it will be a team effort to make the policy work.  The policy is embedded below, have a look:

With regards to the Responsible User Agreement, as we are an IB School we felt it was important to bring in the attributes of the IB Learner Profile for this document.  A lot of discussion took place regarding how best to do this and we tried to make a document that connects IT usage to the learner profile as best as possible.  A Responsible User Agreement online form was also created to allow the collection/entering of forms to be completed more easily.

The Responsible User Agreement is broken into four sections: Representation, Privacy, Netiquette and Copyright.  Each section has connections to the IB Learner Profile.  This we hope will help our IB students to easily understand how the Learner Profile attributes are something that are easily transferable when they interact with IT in various ways.  We tied it to the Nets for students and teachers as well, feeling this would give the document a “backbone”, so to speak.  We also added a parents signature option as well, since we aim to not just use the document with the middle school kids, but with the entire K-8 community. The document can be seen below:

To conclude, I am very proud of the two IT documents we created for our school.  The documents should truly give the administration a solid framework for how IT is implemented in the foreseeable future.


My Personal Brand

Without a doubt, there are some educators and writers doing some amazing things with their personal brands online.  I recently saw Carl Anderson speak about Assessment in the Writing Workshop and was struck by his brand of “The Conferring Guy”, as conferring is a very integral part of assessment in The Writer’s Workshop.  When I think about the essence of my brand, I think about how my Twitter account and my Coetail blog states that I am an:

International School Educator in Japan interested in the various possibilities of how technology can be used to enhance student learning experiences.

This is the brand I want to be as I am an International School Educator aiming to stay in Japan for the duration of my teaching career.  I am also someone who is intrigued by how technology can be used to improve student learning.  I believe this is the essence of my brand, that is Japan as my “home base” and an international school educator interested in technologies wondrous possibilities in the classroom.

Dan Schawbel also suggests that one get a site to further establish your brand, and that is something I am interested in and will look into.  I know fellow Coetail Cohort Mitchell Norris has his own site and I have been impressed with how “Mister Norris” represents him on his website, as well as with his twitter account.

I do feel like I reflect my personal brand on both my blog site as well as my twitter account.  My blog completely deals with technology and education so I feel this is the best place for me to see my “brand” in action.  With regards to my twitter account, when I send out tweets they are usually related to the field of education and I typically interact with fellow educators who are interested in how best to use technology in the classroom and we discuss “edtech” related issues.  I do think I could do a better job of reflecting my brand on twitter by making more of my tweets have technology related issues in them.  I recently opened a personal twitter account (@BigBullio) to allow me the space to follow people and interact with people who have similar sports related interests as myself.  This was done to preserve my @DBullio account’s personal brand.

I have also created a class twitter account for my grade one class, and that has been a pretty successful endorsement for one way how I am using technology in the classroom.  Kids have recently tweeted their questions for our new unit of inquiry, hope to get some responses from parents/other classes after the winter break!

Modern Man’s Friends: Web Browsers and Hyperlinks

Let’s be honest: we all love the internet.  Okay, maybe not all of us, but most of us.  And why not, there is a lot to love.  And I have to say I am one that loves the net.  I am “one of those” who has given up reading what I believe they used to call a “newspaper” in favor of getting my news on my iphone or any other electronic device that allows me to connect to my best friend the web.  When it comes to the web, web browsers and hyperlinks are things that have played a big part in my increasing love of the internet.

With regards to web browsers, these days, I mostly use the internet with Mozilla Firefox as my guide when I am on my Mac at work and at home.  Google Chrome has piqued my interest these days, and I have dabbled with it in my spare time.  I know that Google Chrome is the newest and latest web browser from Google and I should embrace it.  As noted in 20 Things I Learned, when we use older browsers that can slow down innovation on the web. This forces web developers to design websites that work with both old and new technologies.  Making the switch to Google Chrome would most likely increase my love for the net, so I will make it my New Years Resolution to bring “Chrome” completely on board.  I suppose I have gotten quite comfortable with Firefox, making the switch sort of feels like leaving a home you are comfortable in.  And yet by not making the switch, I know I am missing out on such things as a super speedy browser and the neat things like the ability to talk into the browser’s microphone and being able to say “Paris, France”.  Hence, the power in having the latest browser is that you can do a Google Voice search, which in itself sounds cool!

When I think about how I use the connection and power of hyperlinks, I see how I use them without even thinking about it, almost like a natural reflex.  For instance, today at lunch time I was reading The New York Times “The Fifth Down” blog on the year of the tight end in American Football.  As I was reading I became interested in some of the other players Chase Stuart was commenting on and making comparisons with, so I naturally clicked on their hyperlinks and was led to, an amazing site with heaps of statistical information on current and retired players.  It was great to see how one of my former favorites statistics (Jerry Rice) compared to Stuart’s subject Rob Gronkowski.  For me, using hyperlinks allows me to dig deeper into the subject and I like to think that I use them to help me gather more information that will deepen my understanding of whatever topic I am inquiring into. One big reason I believe the “newspaper” is losing the war to the web is that one can’t easily read more about an articles subjects and/or topics as usually when the article is done in a newspaper, it is done.  Hyperlinking allows us to truly gather so much more information than has been traditionally accessible to readers that it should actually come as no surprise as to why the web has become a place where people go for knowledge.

So to conclude, web browsers and hyperlinks play a very important part in how I experience the web and have helped to deepen my love of the web.  I am going to make my new years resolution now and “commit” to Google Chrome for the new year.  I will also continue to use hyperlinks to deepen my understanding of the topics I read on the web.